Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

The Quest for the Historical Jesus

Monday, May 14th, 2012 | Humanism

At a recent Atheist Society meeting, Karel du Pauw provided a brick by brick deconstruction fo any claim that Jesus could have been a historial figure.

A similarly great deconstruction, though not as comprehensive as Karel’s, is provided by the film The God Who Wasn’t There and it is a subject I have previously touched on even though I don’t believe the question makes any sense.

Such talks really bring things into focus – not just for the fact that the Bible isn’t true, but also open up interesting questions about why people believe in it. Clearly, it isn’t because it makes sense from a historical perspective. There is simply no evidence that King Herrod had all the babies killed, there has never been anything like people having to return to their hometown for some kind of Roman census and there are someone simply forgot to tell the earlier writers of the books of the Bible that Jesus was an actual historical figure that actually lived on Earth.

Yet, lots of people, sometimes even smart people (though statically far less often than less smart people) believe it.

To me, it is a stark reminder of why it is so vital that we have groups like the Atheist Society. Clearly, rational thinking and evidence are not the only forces at work when people make a decision as to whether follow a religion or not. There are emotional factors to be considered too, and if we can’t provide for those in the same way that religious institutions do, critical thinking won’t win hearts and minds.

Jesus as a historical figure

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

One question I often get asked when discussing religion with Christians is “you do accept Jesus as a historical figure, right?”

The argument goes along the lines of this:

  1. There is evidence that there was a character called Jesus in historical records
  2. Therefore, you have to accept that some of the Bible is true
  3. If you accept the historial parts as true, why not accept the rest of it as well?

But do I accept Jesus as a historical figure? No, I don’t. Actually, more accurately, I don’t accept that the question really makes sense. I mean, what exactly are you asking me?

For example, I do accept that there was someone called Jesus. But that is misleading. I believe there were lots of people called Jesus. It’s a nonsense question. It’s like saying “do you believe in John?” in this day and age. Well, of course I believe there was someone called John, I know lots of Johns, it’s a very common name.

What you need to ask for the question to make sense is, “do you believe in this specific John?” And when it comes to Jesus, if you’re asking me “do you believe in Jesus, the son of God”, the answer is of course, no, I’m an atheist, so I don’t believe in a god and therefore I didn’t believe he had a son.

Tough questions

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 | Religion & Politics

On Wednesday I headed down to give Kat some company at Alpha at South Parade Baptist Church. The theme of the night was tough questions and so our group discussions looked at a number of questions, namely why does god allow suffering, what about other religions and are science and religion incompatible.

The general answers where because Jesus took our sins, because Christianity has Jesus who was unique and no because Jesus said so 😀 . Actually those weren’t quite the answers but that was the general theme. I found this session much more engaging to be honest and enjoyed it far more though I did find some real cliched points.

I had to hold myself back at least twice, first when people commented that what really sets Christianity apart was that it had Jesus and his story was unique. Of course his story isn’t unique, it fits brilliantly into the hero pattern and is very, very derivative of previous gods. Secondly the girl opposite me, Charlotte, was no doubt a very nice girl and very friendly – but did bring up the “bad, mad or god” argument and I had to bite my tongue from saying “I dealt with this last time I was here, it doesn’t hold any water.”

All in all though I found the discussions much more engaging than the previous visit so thumbs up.


Monday, June 30th, 2008 | Humanism

Because we’re all about learning about other people’s beliefs (perhaps so we can ridicule them further) and because it is unfair to judge something until you have really given it a fair evaluation (and we do love to judge), we headed off to church last Sunday.

It was on Sweet Street, the heart of Leeds’ red light district and the “church” was actually an industrial warehouse which seems to be the way to go as far as the new “evangelical” churches go (I use quote marks as they don’t classify themselves as evangelicals, I simply use the term to convay the atmosphere I am guessing most non-Christians would take from that term).

The service was quite good I thought though Norm was less impressed. I was slightly worried when we first walked in as Michelle seemed to know more people than me but that problem soon worked itself out as I began to spot faces.

All in all it was an experiance and I like to think I can offer something in return for the experiance they gave me. So here it is, my golden nugget of information for them – if you’re going to jump around in worship for Jesus, wear a bra that actually gives you some support. It can’t be easy for the guys to be good Christians when you have four limbs reaching for the lord :p.

Jesus Camp quotes

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 | Religion & Politics

Just to pick out a few of my favourite quotes…

“They [kids] are so usable in Christianity.”

“Where should we put or focus? Our enemies are putting it in the kids.”

“I want to see [young people] radically laying down their lives for the Gospel.”

“How many of you want to be those who would give up their lives for Jesus?”

“Use your cute kid thing until your thirty, and [by] then you’ll have good content.”

“They jump round him [my dad] yelling martyr, martyr! It’s really cool.”